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NCESD 171

North Central ESD implements Climate Science and NGSS Professional Learning by leveraging commonly used instructional materials, and adapting those materials to focus on local, culturally-relevant phenomena, connecting to English Learners, and expanding opportunities to career-connection and community-based organizations.

Teacher Professional Development

As a way to reach our rural and remote districts, provide experience around our state assessment system and engage teachers in learning more about the Next Generation Science Standards, NCESD contracted with Tom Hathorn to provide online professional learning. The Understand, Design and Use WCAS Style Assessments course used Zoom and Google sites as the platform for meeting. Over the six sessions teachers were able to deepen the knowledge of three dimensional assessment as well as reflect on their own practice.

Student Data

NCESD took on the collection of pre and post student data through the development of an online assessment based on the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science. Students in 4th grade, middle school and high school were asked to take the assessment prior to instruction and after instruction. The purpose of this assessment is to focus instruction on performance expectations related to climate science. Also, as student responses are collected, these assessments will be available to all educators and include rubrics and anchor sets of student responses so that teachers can reflect on the learning of their students.

We have had 150 4th grade students take the pre assessment, 276 Middle School students, and 449 students at High School. Post results are due in April.

Instructional Materials

Elementary School

At the elementary level, we are implementing new instructional materials through our STEM Materials Cooperative which supports eighteen of our twenty-nine school districts. The Smithsonian Science for the Classroom modules were developed to meet the Next Generation Science Standards. Knowing that students develop their science identity early and that science is often only taught a few minutes per week at the elementary level, providing high quality instructional materials with intentional professional learning is critical if elementary students are to gain the foundation needed to understand the complexities of climate science at later years. Currently we have been able to train over 240 teachers in grades K-5.

Middle School

Using the Ambitious Science Teaching framework, we have pulled together teacher leaders using the curriculum to learn how to develop AST units. They have identified local or engaging phenomenon, developed model scaffolds, and are outlining the lessons in the units that will help students develop an explanation of the phenomena. These unit plans will be available as an open educational resource for any teacher that may have already adopted or will adopt these units.

High School

At the high school level, we have built upon some of the work we began in the region around year-long high school courses. We specifically focused in on the second year course as it is in the process of being field tested and has significant connections to performance expectations around climate science and human impacts. This second course is titled, Integrated Geoscience Biology. During one unit, The Stressed Out Pika, students learn about the carbon cycle and impacts of climate change. Almost 400 students are experiencing these units and teachers are able to adjust the unit and consider the student learning connected with the work.

Success Stories from North Central ESD

Engaging educators with climate success stories

NCESD 171 hosted Environmental Chemist and Whitman Professor, Frank Dunnivant for a seminar and Q&A sessions with educators on Wednesday, March 20th. More than 50 attended the seminar to hear about the complex environmental issues people have successfully...

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What is Our Evidence the We Live on a Changing Earth?

On January 17th, twenty 4th grade teachers learned about the new Smithsonian module on Earth science. These new units are NGSS aligned and these teachers will be able to share their learning with other teachers as well as being prepared to teach the unit.

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